In last month’s article we took a look at the revival of Business Blogs and why every retail jeweler should spend time updating their current blog and/or start a new blog. This month we will look at some techniques for customizing your blog and time saving tips to creating your blog post.
One of the best time saving features is the Schedule Post that is standard on most of the blog platforms. To schedule your post in Blogger click on “Post Options” at the bottom of the post content box (where you type in your post). The Post Date and Time is set to “Automatic”. Change that to “Scheduled at” and you can set the date and time you want the post to be added to your blog.
On WordPress and Blog.com there is a Publish box to the right of the Post Content box. Click on “Edit” next to the line that reads “Publish immediately” and you can change the date and time, then click on “OK” to set it.
Using the schedule post options permits you to post-date or pre-date posts for your blog weeks, months, even years in advance. Post-dating your blog posts saves you time by allowing you to create all your blog posts for the coming month at one time and you don’t have to log into your blog every time you want to make a new post. If you are starting a new blog you can pre-date posts to make your blog look to visitors like it has been around for a while and you are indeed an authority on the subject.
Don’t schedule your post to be submitted at the same time of the day. This does not look natural and is a tip-off to the search engines that your blog posts are automatically generated. Use random times by varying at least the minutes if not also the hour of the day.
Your Blog on Facebook
Once you have gone to all the work of creating your blog post you can double your results by having your new post automatically submitted to your Facebook profile or store’s business page by using Facebook Apps. The Networked Blogs App is the most popular app for this purpose. With this app you can have all your blog posts added to a tab called Blog, added to your Wall, or posted to both your Tab and Wall.
Another App you can use is Social RSS. The advantage of this app is that it allows you to include the RSS feed from up to 5 different sources. If you have more than one blog you can add the feed to all of them and it will combine all the posts from all of your blogs together on your Facebook page. You can also include the RSS feed from other sources such as your YouTube videos.
Plugins are pieces of code that you install on (plug into) your WordPress blog to add additional features to your blog. WordPress Plugins work similar to Facebook Apps.
Don’t let the word “install” scare you away. WordPress has made it easy to install these and if you can click your mouse button, you can install a plug-in on your blog. Go to your blog’s dashboard (admin page) and scroll down the menu on the left side and click “Plugins”. Then click on the button “Add New”. Here you can view pages of Plugins by; Featured, Popular, Newest, or Recently Updated. You can also search plugins by title or author, which I recommend.
When you find the plugin you simply click “Install”. Once it has installed on your blog click “Activate.” That’s it for most plugins, however, some plugins require you to set up your own setting before it will work on your blog. Others just use a default setting. If you are not sure how to use the plugin, click on the plugins’ website link and most of them have instructions.
There are thousands of different plugins you can install. But don’t worry, you only need a few to add the functionality to your blog that you will use. If you do a search on Google for “Favorite WordPress Plugins” you will find plenty of lists from WordPress experts describing their favorites. Don’t be afraid to try a few out. If you don’t like it you can easily uninstall it with a couple of clicks.
Below is my list of My Favorite Word Press Plug-Ins listed by category. To find these and install on your blog simply type the full title of the plugin in the search box on the Add New Plugin page from your blog’s dashboard. Sometimes the plugin you are looking for is not the top one listed so scroll down until you find it.
Sitemaps are a page on your blog (or website) that places a link to each page or post on your blog. All search engines love sitemaps because it makes it easy for them to find all the pages on your blog and index them. For this reason you should love sitemaps also and have one on every website you own, including your blogs. There are many sitemaps plugins available for WordPress. My favorite, and the one I use on all our blogs is:
Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog. Of all the sitemap plugins I have used this is the easiest one to use that still creates a good sitemap. To see an example of this plugin in use go to http://jewelryandjewelers.com/sitemap.xml.
Social Media Sharing
It is important for you to add one of these plugins to your blog. They allow your readers to share your blog posts on Social Media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Friend Feed, Digg, Delicious, ReddIt, Stumble Upon, and many other websites. Sharing a blog post places a paragraph for your post along with a picture with a link to your post on the website your reader is sharing it with.
Some of these plugins also offer Like buttons, which allow readers to “Like” your post on Facebook, Twitter and some other websites. Liking a post places a one line link to your Blog post on the website selected by your reader. In addition some of these plugins offer a Follow Me button which allow readers to follow your blog’s RSS feed, become your friend on Facebook, or follow you on Twitter.
Warning: Many of these plugins offer up to 200 different websites to share your blog post on. Don’t use all of them! Select only 5 to 10 different websites to display on your blog. Too many options will only confuse your readers and distract from the look on your blog.
Share and Follow
This is really 3 plugins in one. It offers Sharing buttons, Like buttons, and Follow Me buttons. You can select among many of the popular social media websites to place their button at the bottom of your post for readers to share your post, Like buttons at the top of your blog post for readers to like your post, and Follow Me buttons at the side of your blog page for readers to follow you.
This plugin is simple to setup and manage your sharing and following. To see an example of this plugin in use go to http://FeetThruTheDoorMarketing.com.
This plugin is different from the standard sharing icons. They dressed up the icons and added a pop up feature designed to entice your readers to click on them and share your blog post. Though the name may be a little “edgy” for some, Sexy Bookmarks has proven time and time again to be an extremely successful tool in getting your readers to actually submit your articles to numerous social bookmarking sites. To see an example of this plugin in use go to http://apDiamonds.com
Add to Facebook
This popular WordPress plugin you need to download directly from Facebook. It only allows your readers to share your blog post on Facebook.
Add to Twitter
This popular WordPress plugin you need to download directly from Twitter. It only allows your readers to share your blog post on Twitter.
I included these last two plugins in the list because they are very popular and you will most likely hear about them. However, I do not use or recommend them as they only add the one icon to your blog. The first two plugins in this category are the ones I use as they include many different websites to choose from.
Blog Post Editing and Formatting
These plugins add additional buttons to your dashboard where you create your post. They are not visible to anyone except the author of the blog.
Tiny MCE Advanced
This plugin adds additional editing and formatting features. With it you can edit the pictures you insert into your blog post, add highlighting to your text, add subscript and superscript, as well as several other formatting features.
Brad and Debbie Simon are 30+ year veterans of the retail jewelry industry and have been marketing on the Internet since 1999. Their company Internet 4 Jewelers provides on-line marketing services for retail jewelers including blog posting and online video marketing. For more information log on to Internet4Jewelers.com.
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